Numerous articles have been written about the benefits of the arts, be it visual or musical, for mental fitness and good learning dispositions. We came across a surprising article in which researchers ask (and answer) a question that goes a little deeper: Which of coloring, doodling or free drawing is more rewarding? Don’t we all want to know which one, if any, brings more satisfaction?
The research team is extensive: Girija Kaimal, Hasan Ayaz, Joanna Herres, Rebekka Dietrich-Harwell, Bindal Makwana, Donna H. Kaiser and Jennifer A. Naaser. They seriously and carefully looked at this issue and presented their results in an article with the funkiest title: Functional near-infrared spectroscopy assessment of reward perception based on visual self-expression: Coloring, doodling, and free drawing. A non-initiated could not come up with this.
The article was published by Elsevier in 2017 in The Art and Psychotherapy (Vol. 55), and can be accessed online on Science Direct. An interesting read for anyone, and a must for art-therapists looking for new insights. To paraphrase author Diane Alber, I’m not just a… doodle, and we add to her voice that “doodles are here to stay”. Have some fun, draw a neuron of your liking, doodle around it and color it beautifully. Feel free to share it with us.